New Orleans visit offers media another chance to confront McCain with Hagee's just-repeated Katrina comments -- will they take it?

››› ››› RYAN CHIACHIERE

Sen. John McCain is scheduled to visit Xavier University in New Orleans on April 24. On the April 22 edition The Dennis Prager Show, John Hagee -- whose endorsement McCain solicited and received -- affirmed his 2006 comment about Hurricane Katrina: "I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that." Hagee's affirmation of his comments and McCain's scheduled trip to New Orleans two days later offer the media an opportunity once again to report the Katrina comment and other offensive remarks -- will they take it?

According to Sen. John McCain's campaign website, McCain is scheduled to visit Xavier University in New Orleans on April 24. On the April 22 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Dennis Prager Show, televangelist John Hagee -- whose endorsement McCain solicited and recently said he was "glad" to have -- affirmed his 2006 comment about Hurricane Katrina: "I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that." As the blog Think Progress noted, on The Dennis Prager Show, host Dennis Prager asked Hagee: "[I]n the case of New Orleans, you do feel that God's hand was in it because of a sinful city?" Hagee responded, "That it was a city that was planning a sinful conduct, yes." As Media Matters for America has noted, in reporting on Hagee's endorsement of McCain and McCain's embrace of that endorsement, the media have largely ignored Hagee's controversial comments, particularly the Katrina comment. But Hagee's affirmation of his earlier comments and McCain's scheduled trip to New Orleans two days later offer the media an opportunity once again to report on those comments -- will they take it?

Media Matters has documented (here, here, here, here, here, and here), the disparity between the media's extensive coverage of controversial comments made by supporters of Sen. Barack Obama and their coverage of controversial comments made by Hagee and other supporters of McCain. While there have been media reports on McCain's repudiation of Hagee's comments related to Catholics, the media have largely ignored remarks Hagee has made about Hurricane Katrina, Islam, women, and homosexuality. On the April 20 edition of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, McCain stated that it was "probably" a mistake to solicit and accept Hagee's endorsement and stated that "I condemn remarks that are in any way viewed as anti-anything." Nevertheless, McCain said: "I'm glad to have his [Hagee's] endorsement."

During the April 22 appearance, Hagee also asserted:

HAGEE: The topic of that day was cursing and blessing. Moses taught in the book of Deuteronomy that everything in life is either a blessing or a curse. There are days that things happen that at the time look like a curse. In the passing of time, they may become what appears to be a blessing. An illustration is Joseph, when he was sold into slavery it looked like a curse, it looked like the worse day of his life. When his brothers came into Egypt looking for food, what looked like a bad day 13 years before turned out to be a blessed day. What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God, in time if New Orleans recovers and becomes the pristine city it can become it may in time be called a blessing. But at this time it's called a curse.

As Media Matters has noted, on the September 18, 2006, edition of National Public Radio's Fresh Air, Hagee said, "I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades." He later added, "I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans."

From the April 22 edition of Salem Radio Network's The Dennis Prager Show, as transcribed by Think Progress:

PRAGER: Now, they have you on Hurricane Katrina, quote, from NPR two double-o six: "All hurricanes are acts of God because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that." Go ahead.

HAGEE: Yes. The topic of that day was cursing and blessing. Moses taught in the book of Deuteronomy that everything in life is either a blessing or a curse. There are days that things happen that at the time look like a curse. In the passing of time, they may become what appears to be a blessing. An illustration is Joseph, when he was sold into slavery it looked like a curse, it looked like the worse day of his life. When his brothers came into Egypt looking for food, what looked like a bad day 13 years before turned out to be a blessed day. What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God, in time if New Orleans recovers and becomes the pristine city it can become it may in time be called a blessing. But at this time it's called a curse.

PRAGER: Right, but what you were saying and, I want to just make it clear that there is a divine hand in these natural acts and you see the divine hand in the hurricane that hit New Orleans.

HAGEE: If God is almighty and God is all powerful, God controls everything. If God does not control everything, he is not God. So the answer of that is yes.

PRAGER: Right. The only question, and this is not a challenge as much as my own theological question to that, is this is really Dennis speaking, not you know, not some official questioner. But if that's the case so that would hold true for the earthquake and the tsunami, the earthquake in southern California, the tsunami that hit Indonesia. Is that, so is there any natural disaster that is not the result of sin?

HAGEE: Well, I'm not saying it's a result of sin, I'm saying it's a result of God's permissible will. You cannot say that everything on the Earth that happens is sin. It was carried in a newspaper that there was going to be a massive homosexual rally there the following Monday. Ah, but and I believe that homosexual marriage is sin and I believe that it's an abomination because Moses said it was. But it is wrong to say that every natural disaster is the result of sin. It is a result of God's permissive will, but who no man on Earth knows the mind of God...

PRAGER: Right, but in the case, did NPR get, is this quote correct though that in the case of New Orleans you do feel it was sin?

HAGEE: In the case of New Orleans, their plan to have that homosexual rally was sin. But it never happened. The rally never happened.

PRAGER: No, I understand.

HAGEE: It was scheduled that Monday.

PRAGER: No, I'm only trying to understand that in the case of New Orleans, you do feel that God's hand was in it because of a sinful city?

HAGEE: That it was a city that was planning a sinful conduct, yes.

PRAGER: Ok, so that is the only I think, frankly, it's the only one they can get you on because people don't like to hear that sort of thing. But even so, I think that, I've always given religious people leeway, religious leaders on saying that we ourselves have sinned, and God has his own judgments. I mean the prophets used to do that, so that's you know, that's up to anybody to interpret the way they want. I mean, when the left says that we sin against the environment and we end up getting x or y, nobody says that that's illegitimate.

HAGEE: Well, I know that in our society, that is what I call politically correct, no one likes to hear that there is a God who has the power to correct man for his behavior that does not fall within the parameters of the word of God. That's why secular humanists hate the bible because it gives a definite standard of right and wrong. There's light and darkness, there's wheat and pears, there's sheep and goats. You can't be all things to all people. You either do live by the word of God or you don't live by the word of God. And there's nothing in between. And...and our secular permissive society, that's just a hateful idea.

PRAGER: Alright, I'm going to let you go, but...and I'm going to take calls that are coming in on this.

Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.